Pat McCrory

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory held a press conference today to celebrate a new report suggesting the state's economy is benefiting from tax cuts enacted last year.

The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council's "Rich States, Poor States" report ranks North Carolina sixth in the nation for its economic outlook.

McCrory says lowering corporate income taxes in particular has encouraged companies to move to the state.

Teacher of the Year sign
Dave DeWitt

This is an issue with way more than just two sides. To illustrate how convoluted and complicated paying teachers has become, consider this fairly simple argument from Terry Stoops, the Director of Education Studies at the conservative John Locke Foundation:

“Frankly it’s unfair to our highest-performing teachers,” Stoops says. “There’s no reason why the Teacher of the Year in North Carolina should make as much as any other teacher.”

Now here’s an actual, real life North Carolina Teacher of the Year, who, in a free market, would get paid more:

Tom Augspurger, USFWS, taking core sample as EPA's Alan Humphrey documents the ash bar during February 8th reconnaissance of Dan River coal ash spill. Photo by Sara Ward, USFWS..
Sara Ward / USFWS

The CEO of Duke Energy sent a letter this week to Governor Pat McCrory and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) outlining the company's plans for coal ash clean-up in the state.

Duke says the letter is a big deal.

DENR described it as inadequate.

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory says his staff will consider making changes to a new law that offers raises to top teachers who give up tenure rights.

Under the law, teacher tenure will be phased out by 2018 and replaced with a plan that requires local school districts to pick the top 25-percent of teachers who will be offered four-year contracts and bonuses.

“I think it’s an example of passing a policy without clearly understanding the execution,” McCrory said.

The cleanup for the 2008 Tennessee coal ash disaster. Image taken March 2012.
Appalachian Voices / via Creative Commons/Flickr

At least 30,000 tons of coal ash poured through a broken Duke Energy stormwater pipe and into the Dan River earlier this month. The spill is the third largest of its kind in US history.

But that spill was much smaller than an accident in Tennessee six years ago.

It was the middle of the night, three days before Christmas in 2008 when part of a retention wall at a Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash pond ruptured.  A dike failed and millions of gallons of potentially toxic waste were unleashed.

7-time Mayor of Charlotte and Republican nominee for Governor of North Carolina. At Cary Innovation Center, July 11, 2012.
Hal Goodtree / Creative Commons/Flickr

Governor Pat McCrory has sent a letter to Duke Energy’s CEO asking the company to remove coal ash from sites near waterways. In the letter McCrory says his administration has expressed its primary desire that coal ash ponds be moved away from waterways.

“This is a good development but we’re still dealing with words and not actions,” said Frank Holleman is senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.”

Gov. Pat McCrory
NC Governor's Office

In light of the winter storm, Governor Pat McCrory says he will work with education leaders to review laws on make up days for public schools.

This week's snow storm led to closings that lasted up to three days for many schools across the state, forcing school officials to make tough decisions on how to make up for the lost time. Many schools still need to make up time from last month's snow. 

Emerging Issues
Dave DeWitt

Diane Ravitch is an education historian. She’s also a best-selling author and hugely influential on social media. In the past few years, she’s also become the champion for traditional public school teachers. What she isn’t, is subtle.

“North Carolina is bleeding talent,” she told the crowd at the Emerging Issues Forum in Raleigh on Tuesday. “North Carolina is bleeding experience. North Carolina has a brain drain caused by bad policy.”

 Image of a branch that has been subjected to freezing rain within the previous 24 hours. Note the branch is completly encapsulated in ice. Some melting has occurred as temperatures were around 0 Celsius
David Park, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on 27 Dec 2009. / Wikipedia Creative Commons

While the state transportation department is already out salting roads, utility companies are closely monitoring the weather forecast today.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Ryan Ellis said light snow is likely this afternoon, getting heavy tomorrow into Thursday. By tomorrow afternoon, he said, ice will coat much of the state.

Jane Pritchard is a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives. She said it would take a heavy snowfall to mess with power lines, but just a half-inch of ice can do a lot of damage.

Pat McCrory
Dave DeWitt

Republican leaders in North Carolina have announced a plan to increase teacher compensation. It would raise the starting salary for new teachers, making North Carolina much more competitive in what it pays new teachers – especially when measured against southern states like Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina.

Governor Pat McCrory chose his old high school, Ragsdale High in Guilford County, to announce the plan to pay new teachers a more competitive salary.

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